As public events are cancelled and large gatherings are banned across Alberta to stop the spread of COVID-19, more than 800 people still converge at the Drop-In Centre every evening for the shelter’s dinner service.

It’s an essential service for people with nowhere else to go and no means to buy food, and shelters are exempt from capacity limits imposed by the province. But as COVID-19 cases in Alberta neared 500 on Thursday, Calgary shelters are racing to move their clients into new housing and change their operations to protect people without any private space where they can self-isolate.